Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dark Ages A'Comin' & No Middle Age

The author here seems to think that we are in a period of transition & chaos, of the kind which saw the rise of city-states and feudal connections. What is left out is any sense that we are entering this at the END of a long period of consumption, rather than attempting to harness resources with limited technology. Remember, this was during a time period in which parts of North Africa were still "green". On the contrary, today, we are living with far more people, people with more technology, but a technology in decline, and with people who are far less adaptable personally and morally to the conditions of a Dark Age. And is it a "Dark Age" or a "Middle Age" that is coming? I'd prefer a "Middle Age", preferably. The author cheerfully elides the coming suffering & decline by proclaiming a new era, something that our elite has grown rather good at doing these days. A better analysis is found here.

And the repeated predictions that the situation can’t go on? I’ve come to think that what motivates such predictions, and gives them their present popularity, is the growing sense of apprehension that it can go on—that the troubles currently pressing in on the industrial world could just keep on getting worse, day after day, year after year, for decades to come, following the same gradual curve that the industrial world followed in the days of its growth, but in reverse: descending into impoverishment and relocalization along some broad equivalent of the same bumpy course that brought the ascent to prosperity and global integration back in the day.

When you think about it—and in the back of their minds, I suspect, most people have thought about it—that’s really a terrifying prospect. What makes it most unnerving is that it’s not simply a matter of, say, having your standard of living ratchet down by five per cent every year, though there will be a fair amount of that. It’s far more a matter of never knowing when your number’s going to come up and land you out of work, out of money and out on the street, next to the others who landed there before you. How much of the popular sport of blaming the poor for their poverty, I wonder, and how much of the current pseudoconservative fad of insisting that the poor aren’t actually poor, comes from people who are desperately trying to convince themselves that their jobs are irreplaceable, their retirement funds secure, and the sudden dizzying fall into the ranks of the impoverished can’t possibly happen to them?

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